In an article on using the power of questions to change your life, Tony Robbins wrote the following:
Quality questions create a quality life. They direct our mental focus and therefore determine how we think and feel.
The difference in the quality of people’s lives often comes down to the difference in the questions they consistently ask themselves. If you ask a disempowering question (i.e. “Why does this always happen to me?”), your mental computer will look for an answer, even if it has to make something up! It might come up with “Because you’re stupid” or “Because you don’t deserve to do well anyway.”
On the flip side, if you ask an empowering question, such as “How can I take this experience and use it to contribute to others?” your brain will look for answers to this question and often come up with an answer that not only makes you feel better, but that can help others as well.
The key is to develop a pattern of questions that empower you.
Our perceptual faculties are bombarded every day by an incessant stream of sense-data.
One of the brain’s primary functions is to protect us from being overwhelmed by this flood of information. It accomplishes this by filtering out much of the data that appears to be irrelevant to our general survival needs as well as our specific interests and priorities. This function of the brain is what makes it possible for us to concentrate and it’s essential for learning new things and making everyday decisions.
One of the factors that affects what gets filtered out of our perceptual experiences is our attitude. Our ideas about what’s interesting, what’s important, and what’s impossible are like frames that not only shape the way things appear, but also exclude some items from showing up in the picture at all. When we consistently tell ourselves things like “it’s no use,” “I’ll never make it,” “things like that don’t work for me,” or “I can’t,” for instance, we give instructions to our brain to filter out information that might possibly serve as evidence for hope. The practice of unwittingly thinking and talking about the things we want as if they are impossible to achieve, raises the likelihood that we will be victims of confirmation bias and other cognitive fallacies that result in us having a distorted and diminished image of what our real possibilities are.
When we develop the habit of translating our creative challenges into questions, we cultivate a sense of curiosity rather than close-mindedness and we become more privy to previously undetected options and opportunities because we’re sending our brain a message that says “I’m interested in this. This is important to me. Give me an alert notification every time you come across information that’s relevant to this.”
Are you forming hasty conclusions when you’d be better off asking thought-provoking questions? Are you asking loaded questions that set you up for failure or are you asking questions that make it possible for you to learn new things, make new connections, and find new solutions?
Listen carefully to the words you use when you describe your life and your ambitions. You’re not just talking to the people around you. You’re talking to your brain and you’re telling it what kind of world you would like it to show you.